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Union Stock Yards

The livestock market is one of San Antonio's earliest industries. Following the Civil War, San Antonio supplied cattle drives originating in South Texas along the Chisholm Trail to railheads in Kansas. San Antonio's strategic location in the heart of a vast agricultural empire made it an ideal focal point for longhorns driven along the trails to Fort Dodge, Kansas, where large stockyards were located. Spanish ponies and Texas mustangs were driven to San Antonio to be broken and then driven to Kansas, making trails that would lay the foundation for San Antonio's streets.

Along San Marcos Street, 1933 In San Antonio cattle were traded on the western edge of town and on Military Plaza. With the arrival of the railroads, the San Antonio Stock Yards moved to its present location on San Marcos Street. Founded by South Texas ranchers and trail drivers, the Stock Yards relied on the railroad until the 1930's, when truck shipments started taking over. The interstate highways took over the shipment routes yet the Stock Yards survived. Interstates 35 and 10 are conveniently located adjacent to the stockyards, providing a smooth transition to interstate shipments. The interstate, however, brought about rapid development to San Antonio, displacing ranchers and discouraging rural ranchers due to the increaseintraffic.TheStockYards,onceanempirecovering35acres, was reduced to merely 9 acres before it closed in 2001. Currently, warehouses cover the remaining site, the cattle all gone.

View of Stockyards with Exchange Building in background, 1903

Time Line

1876 ThefirstdemonstrationofbarbedwireheldatSan Antonio's plaza, ending the open range and creating huge cattle ranches. The Galveston Harrisburg & San Antonio Railroad arrives in San Antonio. The International & Great Northern Railroad arrives in San Antonio. Thefirstknownenclosedpens,orcorrals,werebuilt, starting the San Antonio Stockyards. The San Antonio Stock Yards Company formed to provide one common concentration and sales point where competitive buying would give cattlemen advantage over direct trading. The Livestock Exchange Building, including a cowboy hotelonthirdfloor,isbuilt.


JW Kothmann and Sons, the oldest commission at the Stockyard opens. San Antonio Stockyards renamed Union Stock Yards San Antonio and reorganized with Dr. Amos Graves Sr. (chief surgeon of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio railroad) and Associates taking control, rebuilding the yards, and acquiring more land.



1881 1880s



Dr. Amos Graves, Sr., c 1900 1901-2 TheSouthernPacificRailroadtracksarebuiltadjacent to the Stockyards. Most cattle are trucked out of the yards.

1930s Livestock Exchange Building, c1900


Current Livestock Exchange Building is built, replacing the old wooden Exchange.

1986 1986

Thegiantlonghornisfabricatedasaparadefloatfor small town shows. Theweakestfinancialyearatlivestockmarketsince 1958. The Union Stock Yards is a transit point for 266,000 head of cattle, becoming the second largest in Texas, 15th largest in U.S. Afirecausesabout$18,000worthofdamage. San Antonio Community Development Council receives $10,000granttostudytheStockYards,thefirstcompre hensive study of the stockyards/produce market area. Economic Development Administration gives San AntonioCommunityDevelopmentCouncila$830,217 grant. The Texas Livestock Marketing Association closes its commission operation. The giant longhorn moves to its present day location.


1987 1989


1992 The Current Exchange Building and Stock Yard Cafe



The Stock Yards act as a transit point for one million head of cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats. The method of buying switches from private transactions to auction. An auction room is added to the stockyard, replacing the outdoor tent previoously used.



Existing Union Stock Yards Signage


The Union Stock Yards no longer accepts livestock other than cattle. The Union Stock Yards is a transit point for 82,000 head of cattle. The Union Stock Yards closes and portable metal warehouses are constructed on the site.

Auction, c1972 1970 The Union Stock Yards is a transit point for 450,000 head of cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats. The last time cattle are hauled by railroad to the Union Stock Yards. The Union Exchange Building is ringed by truck stops, ranch supply houses and packing houses.





Aerial of the Union Stock Yards, c 1966 (Exchange Building in foreground)

Current Warehouses Available for Rent


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